Imagine with me for a minute that we are on a photo safari on the plains below Mt. Kilimanjaro in Central Africa. The grass is waist high, the temperature is approaching 100 degrees, and insects are chirping, screeching, and buzzing all around us in a winged cacophony. Above the grass, out of a clump of desiccated trees and bushes a pair of ears emerge and two black beads of eyes stare our way. Do we run? Freeze? Lay down? Holler? Scream?
I face this challenge each morning as I check my “ears” and watch the hummingbirds emerge and head for the feeder. Not quite the drama of the African savanna but the ears are as large or so it seems. The hummingbirds are not the life or death – fight or flight – what do I do – scenario from the Serengeti. But I can imagine!
Dumbo Ears is what my 4-year old granddaughter calls them and to her they are as big as any found on the dark continent. They are huge but not as big as the Thai Giants growing in SE Asia.
My Dumbos survived our mild winter and came back bigger than ever. The bulbs are now emerging several inches from their original planting depth of six inches – should I have done nine inches? I fertilized them with 10-10-10 as they break ground in late Spring and water them intensely every few days. They like it!
The plant in the above photo is from one bulb planted a year and a half ago – the bulbets I dug up last Fall measured five inches around and I kept them in a dry potting mix all winter where they began sprouting in June. The original bulb was left in the ground for the simple reason that it was too enlarged and too well rooted to dig up. This is late afternoon sun and they receive about 4 or 5 hours of direct sun on the NW front of my home. They provide needed shade for azalea and hosta plus a few Kimberly Ferns you see at the bottom of the photo.
What creatures reside in these sweltering depths? I mentioned the giant hummingbirds that perch on Dumbo ears – but we also have a skunk that our Nest camera picked up at 5 AM last week. A summer ago, a bobcat bounded over the plain and this morning several Whitetail Deer munched on weeds about a hundred yards away. But the fiercest, meanest, most notorious beast of all time hopped through the Dumbo jungle and into the backyard where he sat – awaiting his human prey to emerge from their humble shelter. We stayed inside but managed to get a photo.